Getting to know DataDiggers - Cătălin Antonescu (Executive VP, Operations)

The series of interviews continues... Therefore, let's meet Cătălin Antonescu, Executive VP, Operations.


What does working in the market research industry mean to you?

It actually means working in the area that I graduated. And I know it may not sound that extraordinary at first glance, but considering that a lot of people in Romania do not actually have this opportunity (working in the field they'd prepared for), I consider it a big thing, as doing what you like during 1/3 of your daily time is important to me.


From whom in the market research industry have you learned most in your career?

I’m learning from everyone that is open to share, discuss and collaborate, whether we are talking about people in this industry, clients or colleagues. I find constantly learning new things, from everyone around me, rewarding, and this due to my need to constantly evolve/improve.


If you were able to bring someone in our DataDiggers team, who would that person be and why do you think they'd be great for our company?

I could definitely nominate here some people that I've worked with, that have similar beliefs and feel responsible for their work, but I would rather keep this anonymous.

Generally speaking, I think a great team is not necessarily a matter of personal skills of individuals but rather a good mix of that, as all of us have some strong points and some that we could improve.


What was the most important challenge you had to go through in your career?

Well, by the nature of our job we have challenges all the time, as we are dealing with different situations on different projects for different clients. Some might seem tougher to deal with than others but there’s nothing that cannot be resolved. One of my favorite quotes is ‘For any problem, there are at least two solutions’.


Thinking about your career, what is the achievement you are most proud of?

This is simple, the impact that I have on improving the way some things are done (working processes) and on the people that I've worked with. If I manage to help, that makes me happy.


What's the biggest mistake you've ever made in your career?

I would not consider a big mistake or at least I did not at the time that I have done it but probably staying too long in some companies that couldn’t offer me the possibility to learn new things anymore or get involved deeper. I sometimes got that awkward message that you have to keep calm and wait as rushing things may not allow you to fully understand the whole picture. Well, some of us learn faster.


What does success mean to you?

Being in the right place at a certain moment and enjoying that, whether we are talking about professional or personal life.

What do you do to move forward in the profession you have chosen?

I simply learn more, from everyone around me.


How would you describe the market research industry in Romania?

If we are talking about offline research I think that is rather a mature market, with several important players, but also with enough room for others. Online is still under developing, with good potential in the upcoming years.


Is there something new that you have learned in the last 2-3 years, in your career, or in your daily life, which you find is important?

I'm proud to say that I have this (learning) in my life almost on a daily basis, whether it's something related to my profession (my job and all the responsibilities related to that) or to my personal life, whether we are talking about how to overcome some challenges or simply enjoy the small things in life (you wouldn’t believe how many things your kids can teach you).


If you were able to meet yourself, at the moment when you first got hired, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t forget to be yourself and say what you think, as this would always help you sleep well at night.


If you were to give advice to one of your former managers, what would that be?

To always consider that the people they work with are more capable than they think, to never underestimate anyone. That is because some managers tend to forget this and think that standing a bit higher on the hierarchy does not only give them a better view that they should share with the team but somehow make them resistant to making errors.


Why did you choose to work in the market research industry?

This is the field I have chosen probably due to my analytical nature. I like working with numbers and finding a deeper meaning behind the obvious.


What advice would you give to someone starting in the market research industry?

To take the whole thing step by step, to put a lot of questions for clarifying things to himself/herself, to be open to self-learning as part of the information will come from there and generally to never stop until he/she reaches the goal. I know this sounds like a cliché but the difference between having success in what you do and failing is only given by the number of tries that a person chooses to make.


What was your ‘dream career’ when you were little?

I do not recall having a specific ‘dream career’. I guess I was too focused on playing and enjoying my childhood.


What do you think is the most important thing in life?

Enjoying it and realizing that happiness may indeed come from small things. Also remember that ‘Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans’ as someone once said, therefore do the best to make it worth.


What are you planning to do on your next vacation?

Spending time with my family, somewhere near the sea, relaxing and enjoying every moment.


What is making you get up from bed even when you have a bad day?

My clock alarm 🙂.

What are your dearest memories, some that you always think of with joy?

Summer time in Greece, with all the benefits you get from that, meaning great views, extraordinary food and magnificent places to visit. And sharing this with my family.


If you could change something from the past, make a different decision, what would it be and why?

I wouldn’t change anything. I’m lucky to have a wonderful family and extraordinary work colleagues; therefore I’m in the right spot.

If you could go anywhere in the world, at any time in the past, what would that be and why?

I’d love to see New York during the 60s. I find it a beautiful city and I think that would be the best time to visit it.


Can you name one hobby that you really enjoy?

Sure, playing console games with my kids.


What’s your favorite book and why?

Well, it depends on the mood of the moment. But I really enjoyed “The Catcher in the Rye” by Salinger some years back when I first read it and more recently “Leaf Storm and other stories” by Marquez.


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